[I realized after writing this out that I think I have already detailed the Vertigo-is-not-scary story on the blog. This is no surprise, since Jason insists I have told him every story in my life (many more than once). Oh well. That little quirk is part of my overall charm.]
So, Sight & Sound announced the decennial Greatest Films of All Time list, and Vertigo dethroned Citizen Kane. For more on the list and what it all means and does not mean to film geeks, see Roger Ebert’s blog post here.
I actually got the news from Jason on Wednesday night, who reminded me of when I introduced him to Vertigo. We’d been dating nearly a year and wanted to watch a scary movie at my apartment. I suggested Vertigo, which I had first seen at age 9 back in the bygone days when you had to drive to a movie rental location, walk the aisles looking for a particular title, and return the VHS tape two days later without having accidentally left it in the back window of the car. We watched a lot of old/good movies back then, which came in handy during my film student days.
Anyway, I remember being terrified by Vertigo, and assumed it would be ideal fare for a scary movie night with Jason. I warned him that it was scary, “Probably even scarier than ‘The Sixth Sense’!” (which maybe says a lot about my low tolerance for scariness). We picked up the DVD from the LRC, and started watching.
It turns out Vertigo isn’t actually conventionally terrifying (in a Halloween night-worthy film kind of way). I think I realized things were going downhill when the floating green disembodied head appeared. We laugh about it now, but at the time I was embarrassed that my “scary movie” was a disappointment (though I will insist that it is terrifying from a psychological standpoint. Jimmy Stewart has problems).
In case you’re interested, here’s the full list (films I’ve seen crossed out).
1 – Vertigo (1958)
2 – Citizen Kane (1941)
3 – Tokyo Story (1953) [Haven’t seen it, but I did once watch Ozu’s Late Spring. I feel like that should count for something.]
4 – La Règle du Jeu (1939)
5 – Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
6 – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) [I legitimately feel bad about never having seen this one]
7 – The Searchers (1956)
8 – Man with a Movie Camera (1939)
9 – The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927) [I’ve seen clips of this one]
10 – 8½ (1963)
And now for a film story I haven’t detailed on the blog:
Once upon a time I got 101% on a film final exam in a class that shall not be named. The professor gave me extra credit for having beautiful handwriting. It was a proud moment. The End.